Facebook users warned against uploading illegal images

Image copyright of Facebook

Following the recent announcement by Facebook that 750,000 photos were uploaded over New Year’s weekend (!), the company’s warned that more professionally taken images are being used on the social networking site, in shared wedding albums or being submitted as competition entries.

Steve Hewlett, specialist at the photographic insurer In Focus, warns Facebook users to think twice before they upload photography other than their own.

“People aren’t knowingly breaking the law, they just need to be made aware. Copyright belongs to the photographer. This is unless the photographer has been contracted to take the images with the client owning the copyright. According to British law, copyright is granted at the point of creation. It belongs to the photographer unless it is taken by an employee in the course of their work, here it belongs automatically to employer.”

Hewlett continued: “People mustn’t presume they can do what they like with their professional images; permission must be sought. You can’t just take a photographer’s work off their website or online proofing albums; it lowers the value of their work. Photographers are entitled to ask Facebook users to remove their images and can take legal action if they refuse.”

“Photographers should supply an ‘Image license’ document outlining what clients can or can’t do. It’s good business practice to make things clear.”

On a personal note, to date I’ve had no problems at all with images supplied to clients, but I know of several photographers who’ve had work copied from their sites and used without permission.

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